Are you looking for the best hikes in Ohio?
There are many beautiful places to hike in Ohio, from Hocking Hills State Park to Cuyahoga Valley National Park to Mill Creek Park.
These hikes have a lot of stunning things to see, including cascading waterfalls, mysterious caves, and glorious greenery.
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I know a lot about my home state – including hiking in Ohio.
Here I am giving you the 15 best hikes in Ohio to discover that will inspire you and I know you will enjoy.
15 Best Hikes in Ohio For You To Discover
Old Man’s Cave, Hocking Hills State Park
Difficulty: Easy to moderate, depending on the trail
Length: 0.6 miles to 6 miles, depending on the trail
Just about any list of the best hiking in Ohio will include the hike to Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park. After all, it’s one of the best things to do in Ohio as a whole!
Old Man’s Cave, named after the hermit Richard Rowe who lived there in 1796, is one of the main highlights of the state park.
Between this bit of history, the sandstone cave itself, and an accompanying waterfall, Old Man’s Cave is one of the most popular hikes in Hocking Hills.
There are a few different hikes that include Old Man’s Cave. The simplest is an easy half-mile hike that simply goes to the cave and back.
As an alternative, there is a longer, moderate-level six-mile hike that takes you past Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, and Ash Cave.
Conkle’s Hollow, Hocking Hills State Park
Difficulty: Easy to difficult, depending on the trail
Length: 1.1 miles to 2.5 miles, depending on the trail
Old Man’s Cave isn’t the only trail in Hocking Hills State Park worth the effort. As a matter of fact, there are quite a few wonderful Hocking Hills trails, including Conkle’s Hollow.
Conkle’s Hollow is a rocky gorge that provides hikers with stunning views of the trees below. In the fall when the leaves change color, this Ohio hike is particularly beautiful.
The length and difficulty of the trail to reach Conkle’s Hollow depend on the trail that you choose.
The lower trail is just over a mile long and is both wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. The rim trail, on the other hand, is a difficult 2.5-mile hike.
East Gorge Trail, Mill Creek Park
Length: 2 miles
The East Gorge Trail is an Ohio hidden gem in Youngstown, Ohio. This hike is in Mill Creek Park and it takes brave adventurers across a bridge, through a gorge, beside a stream, and finally in front of a small manmade waterfall.
Depending on how you reach the start of the East Gorge Trail, you may get a glimpse of the historic Lanterman’s Mill, which is also in Mill Creek Park.
Ash Cave, One of the Best Hocking Hills Trails
Length: 0.5 miles
Another one of the best hikes in Ohio is the hike to Ash Cave. Also situated in Hocking Hills State Park.
Ash Cave is one of the most easily accessible Ohio hiking trails. With a paved path that is only half a mile long, it is perfect for families with young children.
At the end of the half-mile trail, you’ll reach Ash Cave. This massive sandstone cave is often accompanied by a waterfall during the rainiest seasons or by frozen icicles in the winter.
In other words, you can hike to Ash Cave multiple times, and it could look completely different each time!
East Cohasset Hike and Bike Trail, Mill Creek Park
Length: 1.5 miles
Like the East Gorge Trail, the East Cohasset Hike and Bike Trail is also in Mill Creek Park in Youngstown. This completely paved trail is one of the easiest and best hikes in Ohio.
This trail is so well-paved that it’s not just hikers who use it. Rather, bikers, runners, skateboarders, and cross-country skiers all make use of this wonderful path.
Due to its well-maintained nature, the East Cohasset Hike and Bike Trail is also one of the busiest hikes on this list.
Cantwell Cliffs Loop, Hocking Hills State Park
Length: 1.8 miles
Hocking Hills State Park has so many scenic trails for hiking. It is home to many of the best hikes in Ohio, so it’s no surprise that a fourth one has made it onto this list.
Cantwell Cliffs Loop takes hikers through gorges, into caves, and near waterfalls! In other words, it showcases many of the best natural features that Hocking Hills has to offer, all on one trail!
Do know that there is a shorter, easier alternative to the Cantwell Cliffs Loop, known as the Cantwell Cliffs Short Loop, which is only a mile long.
Since so many of the best hikes in Ohio are in Hocking Hills, consider spending multiple days in the area to tackle all of the hikes that you want to do.
Bridgeway Trail and Steel Mill Trail, Black River Reservation, Northeast Ohio
Length: 9.7 Miles
The Bridgeway Trail and Steel Mill Trail, are a package deal. You can’t reach the Steel Mill Trail without tackling the Bridgeway Trail first.
Both of these paths are found in the Black River Reservation, which is just half an hour outside of Cleveland!
This pair of trails is a fantastic way to just enjoy the little things that nature has to offer.
Listen to the flowing sounds of the river, peer into the water from a bridge from above, stop to smell the wildflowers, and watch a small waterfall cascade down.
Despite its length, both of these trails are completely paved. They are both quite popular and very heavily used.
Cedar Falls Hiking Trail, Hocking Hills State Park
Length: 0.6 miles
Cedar Falls Hiking Trail is a short, yet sweet Ohio hike in Hocking Hills. There’s minimal elevation gain, so you simply spend your time following Queer Creek until you reach Cedar Falls.
The reason this trail is rated as moderate is that it does require a few creek crossings.
Plus, a few past hikers have noted that this path is a bit more difficult to follow than the rest of the trails in Hocking Hills.
To have your best chance of seeing the waterfall, try to tackle this trail after a bit of rain.
These spectacular Hocking Hills Cabins are perfect if you will be in southeast Ohio for a few days hiking.
Lucky Stone Loop Trail in the Chapin Forest Reservation, Northeast Ohio
Length: 1.5 miles
If you’re looking for an amazing Ohio hike near Cleveland, Lucky Stone Loop Trail is a great option.
Situated in the Chapin Forest Reservation in northeast Ohio, Lucky Stone Loop Trail awards hikers with a quick break from city life and a bit of fresh air.
When you reach the end of the trail, you’ll be able to see wonderful views of the Cleveland skyline and Lake Erie.
If you would like to continue enjoying the nature in the area, Chapin Forest Reservation is filled with other trails for you to explore.
Brandywine Gorge Trail, One of the Best Hikes in Ohio for Waterfalls
Length: 1.3 miles
Without a doubt, one of the best hikes in Ohio is Brandywine Gorge Trail, simply because it features the tallest waterfall in Ohio.
Situated in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Brandywine Gorge Trail leads to the 65-foot Brandywine Falls. This wide, powerful waterfall cascades down a beautiful black wall and into a stunning olive pool.
During your hike to the waterfall, admire the many varieties of trees. In the fall, these different tree types allow for a beautiful array of fall colors to bloom.
If you plan to stick around the national park, here are 10 things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park you should check out!
Peninsula Trail, Lake Hope, Zaleski State Forest
Length: 2.4 miles
Lake Hope State Park is surrounded by the Zaleski State Forest.
The Peninsula Trail at Lake Hope gives hikers the chance to explore the beauty of both the lake and the forest alike.
Essentially, this hiking trail takes hikers on the shores of Lake Hope before looping back through the forest to reach the parking lot.
So while the blue lake waters are the highlight, you also get a glimpse of the forest’s trees as well.
Zaleski South Loop Trail, Zaleski State Forest
Length: 12.4 miles
Zaleski South Loop Trail is by far the longest hike on this list.
While it might seem too long for your liking at first, the effort is well worth it, because you’ll get to explore Zaleski State Forest, the second largest forest in Ohio.
Along the way, you’ll see the historic Hope Furnace, the entrance to the Moonville tunnel, and maybe even a beaver or two!
This trail is rated as moderate because it requires a couple of stream crossings.
Do note that there are many different paths that cross through the Zaleski State Forest.
So be careful that you know the twists and turns of your trail before heading out, or else you may find yourself on a 20-mile hike instead!
Depending on the time of year you visit, you’ve got yourself one of the best places to see fall foliage in Ohio.
Redwing Loop, Cincinnati Nature Preserve
Length: 4 miles
If you’re hoping to do a hike within the city of Cincinnati, your best bet is to head to the Cincinnati Nature Preserve. The Redwing Loop Trail is the longest hiking trail in this nature preserve.
This hiking trail is the perfect way to take a break from the urban city life of Cincinnati.
Simply walk and enjoy all the greenery you could ask for. Who knows? You might even find a few wild blackberries to munch on.
HIking here would make the perfect Ohio day trip!
Shoreline Trail, One of the Best Hikes in Ohio for Beach Lovers
Length: 2.7 miles
The shoreline trail at Lake Erie Bluffs is definitely one of the best hikes in Ohio, despite the fact that it is quite different from most of the other hikes on this list.
First of all, since this trail is on the shores of Lake Erie, the majority of this shoreline trail is on or near the beach.
Second of all, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll see some eagles enjoying the fresh air along with you! There’s no other hike in Ohio quite like it!
Spending time near the beach would make the perfect weekend getaway!
Ledges Trail, One of the Best Hikes in Ohio for Views
Length: 1.8 miles
Ledges Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park is another one of the trails that is consistently considered one of the best hikes in Ohio.
This relatively easy hike takes hikers through the Sandstone Cliffs known as the Ritchie Ledges.
There are even some historic petroglyphs carved into the stones, which is something found on very few Ohio hikes. And there is the bat-filled Ice Box Cave that you can peek into as well.
While all of these features are great stops along the way, the real payoff is at the end of the hike.
There, you’ll reach a breathtaking cliff overlook and an iconic stone staircase.
Packing List For Hiking In Ohio
If you will be traveling, either by plane or by car to Ohio, here are some tips on how to pack lightly.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when hiking in Ohio. It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can place it under your hiking clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with the RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast!
I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking selfies with all those nature shots while taking one of the best hikes in Ohio.
Hydration is so important when hiking. You want to remain hydrated throughout your hike to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels.
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
When filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the charcoal filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. when hiking This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great
It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.
Here I have listed 15 of the best hikes in Ohio that I feel are worth your effort to explore and discover.
I hope you feel inspired to tackle one of these amazing hiking trails in Ohio.
Please leave a comment in the section below if you do hike one of these trails, or any other trails in Ohio. How was it??